CAFNR students run for MSA president/vice president spots; election begins Feb. 29

College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources students Sam Turner and Clay Evans have announced their campaign for Missouri Students Association president and vice president. If elected, Turner will be the first CAFNR MSA President in 13 years. The last CAFNR MSA president was Brett Ordnung in 2003.

This year’s 2016-2017 election, however, proves to be an unusual one. After the resignation of newly elected MSA President Haden Gomez and Vice President Chris Hanner on Jan. 27, former 2015 MSA President Payton Head stepped up to fill the vacated position until a special election could be held. The last, and only, time MSA had a special election was 92 years ago in 1925.

Both candidates agree that they are hopeful for the coming year. In light of racial tensions and faculty issues in the past semester at Mizzou, Turner said he thinks students are ready for a fresh start.

“I saw in the Maneater the other day that students are losing trust in their student government, and they have every right to be,” Turner said. “Students are looking for leaders that they can trust, and Clay and I are those people.”

Evans said that in order to help students feel they are being heard, he plans to use open forums as much as possible so that he and his running mate are more accessible to students. If elected, Evans said he and Turner plan to try and prevent problems rather than react to them. Evans said his hopes for better communications stems from the hurt he felt in Mizzou’s “fall from grace” in the past year. Evans is a fifth-generation Mizzou student and said that the problems at Mizzou have affected him greatly.

“I have always had a love for Mizzou, and to see it fall apart … bothers me,” Evans said “I’ve taken part in other areas [on campus], but now I feel I need to come out in a more legislative and official platform where I can have a larger impact and influence on the university that I fell in love with.”

The core message of these two students is to unite Mizzou. The Mizzou campus comprises more than 35,000 students from many ethnicities, cultures and beliefs. There are over 600 registered student organizations, and 51 of these are categorized as international, cultural or minority groups.

“It doesn’t matter if you‘re white or black, or male or female,” Turner said. “What matters is that you are a Mizzou student, and we want to make your time at Mizzou as safe and as prosperous as possible.”

Although Evans and Turner agreed that some administrative decisions at Mizzou have been questionable in the past, the two said that they are hopeful for the university.

“Payton Head did a great job of igniting Mizzou and getting the conversation started,” Turner said. “Now it’s time for the next MSA leader to unite Mizzou.”

Elections will be held from 5 p.m. Feb. 29 to March 2. MU students can vote in this special election online at vote.missouri.edu.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that the new election handbook was not available to candidates. It was available at the time this story was posted, however.

Alexa Nordwald

About the Author Alexa Nordwald

Hi, my name is Alexa Nordwald, and I am currently a freshman at the University of Missouri majoring in science and agricultural journalism. I hail from about five hours southeast of Columbia in the small town of East Prairie, Missouri. Although my grandparents raise Charolais cattle in Audrain County, I did not grow up on a farm. On campus I participate in Christian Campus House Ministries, Agricultural Communicators and Leaders of Tomorrow, and the professional agricultural sorority, Sigma Alpha. I also work at the University of Missour Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) and serve as a Missouri FFA State Officer.